Nov 12

It’s the final Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season this Sunday, held for the second time at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, and it’s anyone’s guess as to who’ll win the title. Will it be the flamboyant Fernando Alonso? The cheeky upstart Sebastian Vettel? What about the wonder from Down Under, Mark Webber? Even Britain’s Lewis Hamilton is still in with a chance. Here are my United Arab Emirates (UAE) wildlife-inspired top tips for the F1 results.

Like the peregrine falcon, one of the fastest species on Earth, Fernando Alonso can reach speeds of up to 250 kilometres per hour, or more when he has his prey in his sights. The rest of the pack need to watch out: the falcon’s about! Alonso is certainly the man to beat this weekend.

The super speedy peregrine falcon

The super speedy peregrine falcon

Inspired by the Dhofar toad (erm…maybe), Michael Schumacher had been inactive for several years and has recently emerged. However, the Dhofar toad aestivates (lies dormant in hot weather) underground for up to three years, whereas Michael Schumacher was practicing his punditry on German TV. As far as I know, unlike the Dhofar toad, Schumacher doesn’t have an underground lair.

Dhofar toad

Dhofar toad

Exuding a charismatic charm, the acrobatic spinner dolphin is the Sebastian Vettel of my wildlife F1. Streamlined, fast and tenacious, the spinner dolphin is exciting and unpredictable. Let’s hope that Vettel doesn’t live up to the dolphin’s name and spin out of the race!

Spinner dolphin leaping out of the water

Spinner dolphin leaping out of the water

Saving the best ‘til last – it’s Lewis Hamilton. Alright, I’m slightly biased as Hamilton would need a minor miracle to win this year’s title. Once Extinct in the Wild, the Arabian oryx can now be seen again wandering the harsh desert environment that it calls home. Thanks to a fantastic re-introduction programme, the species is recovering from its precarious position. Can Hamilton recover from his precarious position and get the miracle he’s looking for? Recently reintroduced to the UAE, the Arabian oryx represents a remarkable conservation success story.

Arabian oryx

Recently reintroduced to the UAE, the Arabian oryx represents a remarkable conservation success story

It’s a surprisingly exciting contest. My bets are on the peregrine falcon for the win. Let’s see on Sunday!

Ruth Hendry, ARKive Media Researcher

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